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Bengals WR Tyler Boyd focused on 2023 Super Bowl aspirations, not future contract talks: 'This is my home for now'

For the third season in a row, the Cincinnati Bengals are returning arguably the league's top receiving trio in Ja'Marr Chase, Tee Higgins and Tyler Boyd.

But the troika's future in the Queen City beyond 2023 is unclear. Chase is up for an extension, or at least an exercised fifth-year option, after this season; Higgins is entering the final year of his rookie deal without a guarantee that he'll return for 2024; and Boyd, the veteran of the group at 29 years old, is also set to hit free agency after the '23 campaign.

Ahead of his first OTA session of the offseason, Boyd spoke from his locker on Tuesday about what the future holds heading into a critical year for him and a Bengals franchise looking to move past recent high-profile shortcomings.

"This is my home for now," Boyd told reporters. "I just ain't going to worry about the unexpected. I'm here to finish this year out and whatever happens, happens, but I know we have a very, very high chance of making the Super Bowl and even winning. This is where I want to be. Whether I come up with a new deal or not, I've got to just go out there, and I'm going to be me."

Boyd has bore witness first-hand to the Bengals' turnaround from AFC North also-ran to perennial title contender. Drafted in the second round of the 2016 NFL Draft, he made his bones at the end of the Andy Dalton-A.J. Green era; memorably, his game-winning touchdown in Week 17 of the 2017 season knocked the Ravens out of the playoffs in dramatic fashion. After 1,000-yard seasons in 2018 and 2019, Boyd earned a second contract in Cincy, but has since become third banana to Higgins and Chase, who were drafted early in 2020 and 2021, respectively.

Now the veteran is less a go-to receiver than a Cincinnati mainstay and a leader on and off the field, one the Bengals don't seem to want to part ways with anytime soon.

"He's been about what we want to be about every step of the way," coach Zac Taylor said of Boyd. "When this staff came in here in 2019, he's one of those guys that through thick and thin is always, 'Whatever you need from me coach.'

"One thing we preach to all of our guys is … we want guys that are consistent every day. They walk in the building, we know what we're gonna expect. T.B. fits that to a T."

But does Boyd fit Cincy's immediate plans? The Bengals, if they wanted to, have an out to move on from the wide receiver, with a potential Boyd departure saving Cincy $8.9 million in cap space. Plus, with decisions on Chase and Higgins -- not to mention Joe Burrow's inevitable bank-breaking extension -- Boyd could be the odd man out sooner rather than later.

As far as the receiver understands, though, he's in Cincinnati to stay -- at least for this season.

"I'm very appreciative of them still wanting me to be around and knowing they don't want to trade me and things like that," Boyd said. "At the end of the day, I've just got to help guys get better."

Before looking too far into the future, Boyd did take time Tuesday to reflect on a regret from the near past -- not being able to finish last year's AFC title game defeat in Kansas City.

Boyd played just 15 snaps after suffering a deep thigh bruise in the nail-biting 23-20 loss to the Chiefs, exiting in the second quarter with two catches for 40 yards.

"Still to this day, I feel like if I would have played the whole game, I was the key factor," Boyd said, via ESPN's Ben Baby. "We would've won the game.

"I just felt like we had enough depth for guys like (Trenton Irwin) and other guys to come in and play at a faster pace than what I felt like I could do. I wish I was able to do it, but things happen."

Boyd and the Bengals will get a chance to get regular-season revenge on their Kansas City rivals in a Week 17 clash on New Year's Eve at Arrowhead Stadium, a matchup that could be one of the veteran WR's last in orange and black.

"I ain't going to be playing ball forever," Boyd said. "I might not be here forever, but I'm going to always love this franchise and I'm going to always be a Bengal."

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